The Lake District, with its lakes, meres, waters, valleys and mountains, has always been a magnet for tourists and locals who want to take advantage of the great outdoors. Covid-19 has changed all this and this week’s article – by the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association – covers the implications of the Covid-19 on our 12 mountain rescue teams during the lockdown...

Since lockdown began on March 23, our 12 teams have only had to respond to three incidents, which is a fantastic response by the public heading the government messages to Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives.

During the same five-week period in 2019 the teams responded to 55 incidents, including 25 injuries and 12 medical emergencies. All of these will have placed demands on ambulance crews plus treatment by A&E hospital staff – so you can see how staying away from risky activity can massively help the NHS.

We have also supported our NHS colleagues by providing a significant quantity of our own personal protective equipment to help ease their own critical situation.

We really appreciate the sacrifice you are making when exercising, however frustrating it is when we all look towards those inviting but out-of-bounds hills. Rest assured they will still be there when the lockdown is eased, as will your volunteer mountain rescue teams. When you do eventually start planning your outdoor adventures, please take a few moments to follow the advice given on the website Adventure Smart (see below) – it will help make your good day better and possibly save your life as well.

The Lake District’s 10 mountain rescue teams and two specialist teams are made up of 430 volunteers who provide a highly professional but volunteer search and rescue service on call 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The teams are members of LDSAMRA which represents their interests both regionally and nationally.

Please continue to support the teams through their JustGiving pages during this very quiet period as they are unable to carry out their normal fundraising activities. This year will see a significant reduction in donations due to the cancellation of open days and other events. We need to be ready, fell fit and fully prepared for when the anticipated flood of tourists, and probable incidents return – whenever that may be.

How to be Adventure Smart

Adventure Smart is a UK-wide initiative, encouraging visitors to have a greater appreciation for the outdoor environment when they are finally able to return to the fells once lockdown is lifted come and help them be safe and “make their good day better”.

Launched in Wales in 2017, it was immediately recognised by the Lake District teams as a really positive way of getting our safety messages across to those visitors who need a little bit of guidance on how to avoid becoming one of our statistics.

The 12 Cumbrian teams invested £12,000 along with a further £6,000 from JD Foundation through our national body, Mountain Rescue England & Wales, to kick start Adventure Smart UK in May 2019. Its aim is to save life and alleviate unnecessary distress along with reducing the increasing and truly avoidable ‘999’ incidents that the police and volunteer teams have to deal with. Ongoing support has been pledged from the Lake District National Park Authority, Cumbria Tourism, Lake District Foundation, the National Trust, RNLI and Cumbria Police.

To find out more click here.